Ordinary people doing extraordinary things to save lives in their communities will be celebrated on World Suicide Prevention Day, with the announcement of Le Va’s LifeKeepers Awards on Thursday September 10.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the LifeKeepers Awards 2020 will be announced online this year, honouring 12 everyday heroes from around Aotearoa New Zealand who have each made an outstanding contribution to the fight against suicide.

Le Va chief executive Denise Kingi-‘Ulu’ave says those recognised by the awards have all played an active role in preventing suicide in their community. 

Director of the Suicide Prevention Office Carla na Nagara will launch the awards which will be part of a World Suicide Prevention Day webinar being hosted by the Suicide Prevention Office from 10 am to noon Thursday.

On World Suicide Prevention Day, Carla na Nagara is asking that we remember all those who have lost loved ones to suicide, and that each one of us focuses on being part of the solution to this complex issue.  
“There absolutely needs to be mental health and crisis services available – but before people need services, the people around them and communities they live in provide the first line of support to help keep people well. It starts with each one of us playing our part to look after ourselves, our family, friends, colleagues, sports team mates and others we are connected to in our communities.  The LifeKeepers Awards are a great celebration of exactly that.”  Read more about the award recipients.

LifeKeepers, the programme behind the awards, is a free national suicide prevention training programme for New Zealanders who want to create communities of care and prevent suicide. It is funded by the Ministry of Health and delivered by Le Va, a non-government organisation specialising in mental health and wellbeing, suicide prevention and violence prevention.

LifeKeepers has been designed for community members and frontline workers who are likely to interact with people at risk of suicide, such as family, support workers, sports coaches, emergency service personnel, church leaders, school counsellors, youth workers, Māori wardens, caregivers, Kaumatua and community leaders. The goal of the training is to equip them to recognise and support people at risk of suicide to get the help they need.

Delivered both through face-to-face workshops and online, LifeKeepers also meets the needs of Māori communities through Mana Akiaki, a tailored version of the programme designed to enhance learning for tāngata Māori.

Since the launch of LifeKeepers in 2017, over 4,500 New Zealanders have completed the training.

The LifeKeepers Awards are sponsored by Le Va and the Clinical Advisory Services Aotearoa and supported by Te Rau Ora and the DHB suicide prevention coordinators.